Director(s): Tim Burstall
Available Quality: Hi Def
Available Quality: Hi Def, Hi Def
IMDB Rating: 5.3 out of 10 (1030 votes)
A group of Australian commandos launch a secret mission against Japanese forces in World War II.
Aldanoli (13 June 2013)
An odd little curio of an Australian action movie, made in 1982,enjoyable in itself as a popcorn movie for its WWII commando story. Butit would largely be forgettable were it not that two of itslower-ranking actors--Australian Mel Gibson and New Zealander SamNeill--were soon to became big international stars. Gibson, it's true,had made *Gallipoli* and a few other Australian movies, and Neill hadstarred in a delightful little picture called *My Brilliant Career*(with Judy Davis, no less), but both were largely unknown at this time.The headliner in *Attack Force Z* was good ol' American pulp-actionhero John Philip Law, whose credits went all the way back to the early'60s and included the likes of *The Russians are Coming! The Russiansare Coming!* Yet Law, for all his good looks and occasional noteworthyappearances, never reached anything like the fame that awaited his twoco-stars in this minor action picture. It's worth seeing if only to bereminded that *everybody* has to understudy somebody else early in hisor her career.
SgtSlaughter (04 June 2013)
ATTACK FORCE Z is the only Aussie war movie I've seen yet besides RETURNFROM THE RIVER KWAI. It's fast-paced, fun, cheesy and plentyentertaining.Jon Phillip Law (DEATH RIDES A HORSE) stars as an Allied commando who leads4 international commandos to rescue a Japanese defector from aJapanese-infested island in the Pacific. The movie features a lot of familiar plot elements, and strongly resemblesthe earlier American features AMBUSH BAY and BEACHHEAD. Only here, the movieis based on fact; a similar mission involving the "Z" Special Forces teamwas actually undertaken in the Pacific. The cast features a lot of youngactors who were unknown at the time, including Mel Gibson (WE WERE SOLDIERS)as the team leader and Sam Neill as the radio operator.The movie is obviously pretty low budget, as the action scenes involve fewextras and are mostly skirmishes between the 5 commandos and Japanesepatrols. There's some great martial arts action as a Chinese commandojudo-chops dozens of Japanese soldiers to their deaths. The final battlescene, in which a handful of Chinese resistance fighters hold off at least afew dozen Japanese soldiers with shotguns is corny, as the Japanese alwayscharge right into oncoming fire and never attempt a flanking movement. Oneresistance fighter stands in the alley blasting away with a shotgun, onlydying once he's taken 6+ direct hits and grenade fragments. The Japanesesoldiers look and act like idiots and use American machineguns, and theAussies have M3 machine-pistols with silencers that never run out of ammoand never miss -- but what the heck, it's pretty entertaining and logic-freeentertainment. The musical score is great patriotic stuff by Eric Jupp, and thecinematography is pretty stunning. The Taiwanese crew does a great job withthe little budget they had. The version shown on TNT and TBS once in a very great while is of goodquality. Unfortunately, there were some scenes in Japanese and others inChinese which lacked subtitles. The closed captions weren't much help eitheras they read, "Speaking in Oriental Language". I haven't seen the NTSC videoyet because it's far too expensive for my taste.All in all, this really isn't the best war film out there. The action scenesbring the worst excesses to WINDTALKERS to mind as they're excellentlyphotographed by defy all logic known to man. Still, the pace is fast, thecharacters good and the scenery is stunning. I give this a6/10.
anonymous (04 June 2013)
Sam Neill is such a hottie. And I love that Mr. Box! And my favorite scenein the whole thing was the one where the trees were talking to each otherwith the subtitles. Brilliant filmmaking!
Grann-Bach (03 June 2013)
I don't know enough about Aussie involvement in WWII to say if this hasactually happened, but I understand that there are definitely somethings that don't ring true, accuracy-wise. The plot is fine, though Ican't claim that this ever gripped me. Not even a firm handshake. Thepacing is reasonable enough, and the battles and such have theirmoments. Acting is mixed, none of it got me that engaged in this. WasGibson not a name yet? Mad Max was out, as was its first sequel. Did henot get recognition before Lethal Weapon? I am not sufficientlyfamiliar with his career, and I frankly don't care to be. Neill, comeon, he's got talent, had that not been realized at this point? Did heneed a paycheck? That badly? Seriously? While I suppose I may have justwatched a half-heartedly put together copy of this, I gotta say...there were a lot of speeches in, I guess Mandarin, that seemed to beimportant and like they should affect the audience, in spite of thefact that they were not subbed. What gives? I did follow the story,however, if the words were meant to evoke emotion, they failed. Still,this is not useless, or it doesn't have to be. If so inclined, you canmake drinking games for it. How about every time a gun fires withoutmaking a sound? Each time the piece of music playing in this is onethat belongs in a film at least one or two decades prior to the releaseof this. And of course, whenever you spot a tired action flick clichÃ©.Make sure to stock up. I recommend this to the biggest fans of warmovies. 5/10
Jonny Frost (03 June 2013)
War films formed the basis of many a childhood, mine included, and thisfilmis a firm favourite of mine, my brother and my cousin.Made by the Australian film industry it is one of two films about theAustralian Special Task Force Z during the Second World War. It shows thatthe war in the Pacific was not won solely by the Americans and that theJapanese occupation of China was brutal to anyone who would oppose them.Having seen photos of what the Japanese did to Chinese relatives of mineandto the population of China in general this film goes someway to highlight arather forgotten piece of history.Having said that, taking the film as an action/ war drama it is well pacedand fairly realistic with but one feat of fantasy. As cinematic trivia itisnoteworthy for the performances of Mel Gibson, Sam Neill and singer/actressSylvia Chang pre-stardom. The star that never was, John Phillip Law takescentre stage for the most part but is beaten for intensity by Gibson as theyoung officer. The effects are a bit ropey, the blood has the red paintquality of war films of the late 60's - early 70's, but this adds to thecharm.If you like "men on a mission" films you should enjoy this.NB- For more films on the Z Special Forces see "Heroes" 1 and 2 (made fortv). "Heroes 2" follows the same failed real-life mission as the second ofthe two Australian films whose title escapes me.
thethumbthing (24 May 2013)
Under the conditions this film was made, I think it sends a powerfulanti-war message. When the film was made the original director left dueto differences with the producers, a new director was brought in atshort notice and that was an unfortunate setback for the film. Thisfilm has a great Australian cast plus John Philip Law. Mel Gibson playshis character with the conviction and talent he is famous for, he hadjust completed Mad Max and was well on his way to Stardom! This filmfocuses on a team of special ops Commando's call the "Z Force", similarto the green beret's, these were highly trained soldier's, equipped tohandle the most impossible missions, this is one story of one missionwhich really happened during WWII, had this mission been a success,itis believed this would have altered the outcome of the war with theJapanese, unfortunately their mission was a failure and this is themessage which is so powerful.. the total waste war creates. I enjoyedthis film and i think you will enjoy it as well.
iainidc (23 May 2013)
A little-known World War 2 drama despite featuring the talents of MelGibson and Sam Neill. The film follows an Australian Special Forcesteam led by Gibson on a mission to rescue the occupants of a planecrash-landed on a Pacific Island. Naturally, the island is swarmingwith Japanese determined to thwart the mission at every turn.The film is not without its weaknesses; Gibson & Neill are a littleflat thanks to a script that doesn't allow them to show off theirtalents to the full(compare to Gibson's brilliant performance as FrankDunn in Gallipoli made around the same time). The music is poignant butfails to add much to the drama and there is a low-budget feel to muchof the film in general.Having said that, Attack Force Z is fairly entertaining; it moves at agood pace and there are plenty of well-staged action sequences. Theending makes a strong statement on the futility of war. A decentaddition to your war movie collection but for fans of the genre only.
Euromutt (18 May 2013)
"Attack Force Z" depicts a fictitious operation by a five-man team fromZ Special Unit, a predominantly Australian special operations unit inWorld War II, who are assigned to infiltrate a Japanese-occupied islandin (presumably) the Dutch East Indies to rescue the aircrew of a downedAllied aircraft. The team is plagued by recurring bad luck (whichquickly alerts the Japanese to their presence) and by friction betweenthe inexperienced team leader, Captain Paul Kelly (Gibson), and hismore experienced but erratic subordinate, a Dutch lieutenant named JanVeitch (Law), the team's most fluent Chinese speaker. When the teammanages to enlist the aid of the local resistance, further frictiondevelops between Kelly and the local cell leader, Lin Chan-Lang (Ko),who resents Kelly's holding back information about the plane'soccupants. About halfway in, however, we do discover why Kelly is understrict orders to keep clam.For a (relatively) low-budget war movie, "Attack Force Z" is prettygood. The costumes and weapons are about as historically accurate asfeasible, and the filming location--Taiwan--is convincing enough as anisland at the other end of the South China Sea. Particularly enjoyableis the fact that Asian characters speak their respective languages onscreen, rather than accented English. This, however, does lead me tothe film's main problem, at least to me, which is that it's a messethnographically and consequently linguistically. Because it was shotin Taiwan with a mostly Taiwanese (or otherwise ethnically Chinese)cast, the island's population appears to be entirely ethnically Chinesewithout a single speaker of Malay (as it was then called) in evidence,the occasional pitji cap-wearing extra notwithstanding. This alsoresults in the somewhat unlikely situation of Veitch being fluent inChinese rather than Malay.Veitch is the most problematic character in the film. The originaldirector, Phillip Noyce, left the project at least partly because hedisagreed with the producers over the choice of John Phillip Law toplay Veitch, and bluntly, he was right: Law simply doesn't pull offanything resembling a credible Dutchman. It's not entirely his fault,though, because the writer and producers don't seem to have ever somuch as met a Dutch person, as is apparent from the fact that Veitchisn't even a Dutch name (insofar as I can make out, it's Scottish).Admittedly, I am myself Dutch and my paternal grandmother's familylived in the East Indies so this is a niggle that maybe affects me morethan the typical viewer but it's emblematic of what's wrong with anotherwise perfectly enjoyable film. Enough so that I can almostoverlook how all the team members manage to stay clean shaven despitenot having time to shave.
greenheart (18 May 2013)
I presume that this movie was meant to be a tribute for theAustralasian special forces operating in WW2. Now, I've no doubt thatthey were totally professional and highly trained individuals, I justdon't think this movie did them too many favours. They made so manytactical errors and decisions based on emotion that I'm quite sure inreal life, thy wouldn't have made. Individuals leaving their unit asthey'd fallen for a girl! Sorry, but it just wouldn't have happenedwith so much at stake. On the positive side, this had a great cast andterrific authentic locations. The action sequences were well done andthe torture scenes particularly harrowing. But at the end of the movie,I just sat there thinking, what were they really fighting for and wasit all necessary? So many lives taken without a second thought and forwhat? Not a classic, but thought provoking which in my book, is neverbad.
Review total: 9, showing from 1 to 9